There’s always a website worse than yours

Google Adwords, Website Development, Website Strategy No Comments

Sometimes it may feel that you have the worst website in your industry.   Day to day the visitor enquiries are non-existent or very low, and you think things are bad with your website.

We’ve reviewed and helped literally thousands of websites in our time and although there’s little excuse for having an underperforming website, it can sometimes be comforting that there are people out there with a worse website and focus than yours.

This one will appeal particularly to people in the holidays industry.  There are some brilliant websites in the holidays industry, particularly the niche holiday websites.  Then there are those in the middle ground.  And sometimes you find something that is spectacularly off target.

We had an enquiry come in recently and it said:

“i run a travel agency ..i do advertising on google. i want to buy 50 to 100 keywords for a year and i want them to be on top..can you please tell me how much it will cost me for a year?”

Apart from it being one of those ‘how long is a ball of string?’ questions (and actually impossible to answer even if knowing what keyword phrases were wanted), the focus was very much on advertising.

A bit of dialogue later and it turned out that the person wanted to be visible under various ‘holidays’ type phrases.  So I looked at their main navigation bar as there was nothing else jumping out from their website saying ‘holidays’.  I won’t name the company because that would embarrass them (no, they’ve not become a client – they ran very fast when they were told how much work they’d need to do in order to justify using Google Adwords).  That navigation bar displays as:

Nothing about holidays in there.

Eventually I worked out that if you click on ‘Flights’ it takes you to what is their holidays page and you can see a sample below …

Putting aside me wondering whether ‘Adeliade’ is anywhere near ‘Adelaide’ (I have a degree in being pedantic about website errors), I thought “hmmm, Adelaide for £811 – let’s look at that” and I clicked on the box.

Well, I tried to click on it.  But it doesn’t go any deeper.

On discussing that with the website owner they were surprised that anyone might actually want to look at details of the holidays on offer and “surely they’d see the price and ring up to find out more?”

So, we’re at the point where this company wants to spend money on sending Google Adwords clicks to a website that is woefully inadequate.  In fact, it makes even mediocre holiday websites look good.   At that point I (nicely) said that I wouldn’t be prepared to set up such an Adwords campaign and that they’d be advised to run a mile from anyone who would be prepared to (before the website is strengthened).

I suspect that they’ll do exactly that. God forbid, they’ll go directly to Google who will quite happily help them set up an Adwords campaign that links through to a rubbish website (they have a department dedicated to doing just that).   It was very clear from the conversation that they had an Adwords tunnel vision and nothing mattered more than sending traffic to the website.  Unfortunately, this is a common disease that can lead to financial death.

Maybe it’s time that we had some sort of central system where business owners can submit their website details and ask for people to grade it on various factors (design, content, depth, etc.).  Just a quick 2 minute appraisal ticking boxes and maybe adding in a few comments.  Everyday people could respond, as could website professionals.  The intention wouldn’t be to sales-pitch services on offer but to give just a small bit of time to website owners that need a collective view (rather than one opinion) of where their website needs to be stronger.

With such a rating system in place, people like me would be less likely to get enquiries about Adwords from people who are clearly not yet ready to line the pockets of Google.